Friday, 17 February 2017

Twitter Politics

Donald Trumps term as the 45th President of the United States has not started well. I am not particularly referring to the arguments over specific policies, where I take the view that he made it clear what his policy ideas were, and was duly voted in to office to carry out those policies. Its called Democracy folks, and that's how its supposed to work, for good or bad.

Combative Trump At War With Everyone .... Or So It Seems.

No, what I am referring to is the complete chaos and incompetence of his team, and the method of communication that President number 45 has adopted since entering the White House. Twitter is not, and should not be the policy communication device for the President of the United States of America. The fact that he's been unable to confirm many of the senior government posts, is just another indicator that President Trump was personally and politically ill prepared for the office he has now taken (I suspect he thought he would narrowly lose the election).

What's is the most worrying aspect of this, is that there is every indication that they are learning little in these first few weeks, and in fact are making the same mistakes repeatedly. Advisor's who are ill briefed, or counter briefing against each other. Making foreign public policy announcements on Twitter, but then later backing down as he did about the 'One China' policy, is not the way to run diplomacy, and is going to lead to a serious breach and even a possible war if they carry on doing this.

The President publicly feuding with the press and his advisor's making ridiculous 'alternative truth' claims is one thing, but attacking one of the three pillars of the constitution for doing their job, is on another order of problem. This suggests a man who has no idea what constraints are or what they are for .... the checks and balances of the US system may be irksome to a US President who wants to run government by diktat, and in fact Presidents in the past have complained about the same issues. President Barack Obama for example faced similar problems in his second term, when he attempted to use an executive order to grant a reprieve to undocumented immigrants. Similarly President George W Bush faced battles over his placing of detainees in Guantánamo Bay.

The US Constitution Rests On Three Pillars .... Mr Trump

The US system is built on the executive branch (which includes the President and his Cabinet); the legislative branch (Congress, which makes the laws); and the judiciary (which interprets those laws). Its system that was set up to stop any one of those branches from gaining or exercising unrestricted power over the government, and to encourage moderate and consensual policies ... admittedly this can be strained a bit when both legislative houses (Senate and Congress) and the Supreme Court are controlled by one side or the other, but in the main its worked.

However the argument for some reform to prevent log jams such as when the President can't get any policies enacted due to an antagonistic opposition control of the legislative houses, is pretty compelling. But it would require a change to the constitution, which is not a light undertaking and not something President Trump is likely to even consider, never mind have the patience to undertake.

The US public are ill served at a critical time, by a President who is unable to master his cabinet and government, and patiently negotiate his policies through what is essentially a partially open gate, with his parties control of the legislative houses, and the Supreme Court.

This is made worse by the fact that the odds on him being impeached must be falling with every statement he makes about his wife's business affairs, and every family trust fund that its found that he still controls.

Unless he learns to act like a President and a politician, and less like the CEO of an under regulated business (where are those personal tax returns???), then this experiment in populism and popular democracy may well end in tears for all of us.

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